Acton Institute Powerblog

Population and Poverty

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The news coming out of the World Bank in recent weeks has largely focused on the departure of Paul Wolfowitz and the nomination of Robert B. Zoellick to head the bank. At the same time, a little noticed power struggle was underway at the World Bank over policies related to “reproductive health” and family planning. Michael Miller takes a closer look at the bank’s Malthusian enthusiasm.

Read the full commentary here.

Jonathan Spalink


  • linda chin

    Brilliant piece. Please post to all governments and World Bank members.

  • Dave

    I agree, that was a great article.

  • Usury

    Please pray– Great need for all to be educated about the monetary system.
    Great need to abolish Fed Res IRS World Bank IMF Our saving Grace

  • Dick Morris

    Your description of Malthus’ theory bears little resemblance to anything he actually wrote. He was, for example, well aware that technological advances could increase the supply of food from a given amount of land. The point was that there is a finite amount of land, and that there is a fundamental limit to the amount of food that can be grown on each acre. (He was also well acquainted with the works of Adam Smith, by the way. The Essay was written largely to elaborate on a point made by Dr. Smith.)

    Malthus also did not predict that the population of the world would exceed it’s ability to grow food by 1850, or at any other time for that matter. The first edition of the Essay was, after all, published at about the time that Lewis and Clark left on their expedition, so the fact that the world’s population has increased by a factor of six since that time is completely irrelevant: It does not contradict anything that Malthus actually wrote.

    The fact that the Netherlands, etc., are densely populated is also irrelevant: They are not even close to being self-sufficient. They are prosperous only because there are still places that are not densely populated and thus are still able to export critical resources to densely populated countries like the Netherlands.

  • Wilson

    I really resend what the developed countries are doing in relation to seconding arbotion;it’s unethical,against human rights,and above all a very great sin.I wonder;why should we leave God to do his work?
    I applaud the work t6hat your organisation is doing and i’ll urge you to keep the candle burning.

  • John Powers


    I am not convinced that a nation need be self sufficient in all resources to thrive. Do nations that have very little international trade fare better than those with a lot of trade?

    Taken just on numbers of commodities in play, say the US imports 120 types of sparkling water from France, while Zimbabwe has banned imports of sparkling water…does that signal Zimbabwe is more self sufficient than the US?

    Yes, there probably is some limit to the food resources available from any given parcel of land. No, we are not anywhere close to reaching that limit.